The Sleeper's Blog

A collection of opinions on the events in the rail industry from Rail Technology Magazine's most feared reporter, ‘The Sleeper’.

Blending irreverence with a much-needed dose of reality, these morsels of spite keep passengers’ best interests at heart and prove the old adage that 'the truth hurts'.

Interested in becoming a guest blogger? Email the editor.

'Mail Rail' trains tested to be revived as museum experience

'Mail Rail' trains tested to be revived as museum experience

02.12.16: Trains have run on the London Post Office Railway for the first time since the ‘Mail Rail’ service was abandoned over 10 years ago.  The ‘Mail Rail’ underground track, which has not been used since 2003, saw its...

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

29.11.16: A new initiative has been launched by London Transport Museum (LTM) to help tackle the UK’s shortage in engineers by encouraging children as young as three to consider a career in the sector. The museum’s ‘Enjoyment to Emp...

Jobs and skills boost in London – courtesy of Thameslink

Jobs and skills boost in London – courtesy of Thameslink

18.11.16: Over 250 jobseekers in London have gained new jobs or skills after getting involved in the Thameslink Programme, the multi-billion pound London railway upgrade which includes the complete rebuilding of London Bridge station by Network Rail. ...

Resounding call for supply chain certainty at TransCityRail

Resounding call for supply chain certainty at TransCityRail

11.11.16: Supply chain engagement and the future of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) were the key topics of debate at yesterday’s TransCityRail North conference and networking dinner. With more than 600 delegates in attendance for the black-tie d...

HS2 – The biggest single source of new jobs in UK infrastructure

HS2 – The biggest single source of new jobs in UK infrastructure

04.11.16: Ailie MacAdam, Bechtel’s rail sector lead and a director of High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL), comments on the job opportunities that HS2 offers and the economic benefits the project will bring. It’s official… HS2...

RTM celebrates its 100th issue

RTM celebrates its 100th issue

28.10.16: RTM is extremely proud to announce that today marks the publication of our 100th edition. This edition, wrapped in a special celebratory cover, represents a major milestone in our 18-year journey as Britain’s rail industry media leade...

Network Rail chooses Barnardo’s as charity partner

Network Rail chooses Barnardo’s as charity partner

26.10.16: Barnardo’s will be Network Rail’s Charity of Choice until March 2019, it was announced today. Network Rail will support the charity through fundraising, volunteering, gifts in kind and payroll giving. There’s no doubt...

If the Midlands makes the most of HS2, the UK will get most out of the Midlands

If the Midlands makes the most of HS2, the UK will get most out of the Midlands

25.10.16: Maria Machancoses, programme director at Midlands Connect and director at Midlands Engine, writes for RTM about the opportunities HS2 will create for the region and the country. According to transport secretary Chris Grayling, the first pha...

Virgin receives more than 15,000 applications for Azuma drivers

Virgin receives more than 15,000 applications for Azuma drivers

21.10.16: More than 15,000 potential train drivers have applied to drive Virgin’s new fleet of Azuma trains. Virgin said the applications, which closed on 14 October, equated to nearly 200 for each of the 78 posts, the biggest recruitment drive...

Rail industry honours Olympic heroes

Rail industry honours Olympic heroes

18.10.16: Star Olympic and Paralympic athletes travelled from Manchester to London for victory celebrations thanks to free transport from the rail industry. The athletes took part in a parade in Manchester yesterday to celebrate their achievements, a...

Breaking down mental health barriers

Breaking down mental health barriers

12.10.16: Chris Langer, scheme intelligence manager at CIRAS, on the link between mental health, safety and confidential reporting. When the CIRAS hotline rings, and we speak to a reporter with a safety concern, very often much of what they say is un...

Rail academy construction progressing at pace

Rail academy construction progressing at pace

07.10.16: Industry efforts to deliver world-class training facilities for the next generation of rail workers are progressing at apace, as government ministers visited two sites this week. On Wednesday, transport secretary Chris Grayling visited the...

Could this be the station of the future?

Could this be the station of the future?

30.09.16: New images have brought to life a future where stations will be places to shop and socialise and not simply catch a train. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has released the images from bpr architects, which illustrate Station Place, a concept...

Leeds rail bridge to get rainbow repaint in celebration of LGBT community

Leeds rail bridge to get rainbow repaint in celebration of LGBT community

23.09.16: The Lower Briggate bridge in Leeds city centre will be repainted with the traditional LGBT rainbow colours after enough funds were raised by Leeds City Council and the local LGBT community. The bridge will be redecorated during engineering...

Two jobs, one stone: transferring the skills from a career in rail

Two jobs, one stone: transferring the skills from a career in rail

20.09.16: David Stinton, graduate civil engineer at AECOM and sapper in the Royal Engineers, had no idea that working in rail would give him the opportunity to pursue two fulfilling careers with crucial transferrable skills. I decided that I wanted t...

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latest rail news

Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery board. A former chairman... more >
Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

21/09/2018Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

Plans to improve the Doncaster Railway Station have reached phase two of the redevelopment process. Work has begun on the plans, developed b... more >
Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

21/09/2018Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

Northern has unveiled its refurbished Class 158 digital train for passengers, ahead of the new fleet’s complete roll-out by the end of the ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, CrossCountry and the Scouts have come together to encourage Britain’s younger generations to be... more > more last word articles >
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'the sleepers' daily blog

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Even now, there is no concrete plan, nor timescales, for the interim operator of this franchise. From our inquiry, we cannot be sure, and cannot reassure passengers or public, that the arrangements ... more >
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Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >

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interviews

Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >
Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >